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Hillmen rally to remain unbeaten in SWC
pla traxler
Senior Alex Traxler scored eludes a Dodgeville defender for a layup in Fridays 5855 victory over the Dodgers.

PLATTEVILLE — It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing performance by his Hillmen, but Platteville head coach Mike Huser will take a victory in any form.

Friday night, Huser’s Hillmen sputtered offensively and struggled to put away a scuffling Dodgeville team, that had lost six of its last seven games coming in, and actually lost the lead midway through the second half. But senior guard Braden Nies scored nine of his game-high 19 points in the final six minutes as Platteville pulled out a 58–55 victory Friday night at PHS to remain unbeaten in the Southwest Wisconsin Conference.

The Hillmen were coming off a 35–33 frustrating non-conference loss at Mount Horeb Monday night, a game where Platteville was held scoreless for the final 10 minutes and Nies and starting point guard Cade Rohrbach were both playing with high fevers.

The healthier Hillmen improved to 8–3 overall and 4–0 in the SWC with Friday’s gritty win, while the visiting Dodgers fell to 3–9 and 2–3 in the conference.

“As a conference season plays out these are the games that you must win if you are going to compete for conference championship,” said Huser. “We didn’t have a great night offensively, but we gave ourselves an opportunity to be successful because we were able to rely on our defense through out the game, until we found some rhythm on offense.  Our guys found a way to persevere and as their coach I was really proud of them.”

Junior Donovan Blevins (eight points),  Nies (seven) and fellow senior Dillon Shinee (seven) led the Platteville offensive attack in the first half as the Hillmen took a slim 24–20 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Platteville continued to hold a marginal lead throughout the first part of the second half, extending their lead to 39–35 at the 10-minute mark. But the Dodgers strung together a 10–2 lead to turn the tide. Junior center Bryce Prochaska’s layup with eight minutes left gave Dodgeville a 43–41 lead, then a layup by Houston Stanek made it a four-point lead with just over eight minutes left.

Nies buried a 3-pointer with about six minutes left to make it a one-point game, and Platteville regained the lead at 46–45 on a Blevins putback.

Dodgeville’s Levi Nagel split a pair of free throws to re-tie the game, but two possessions later took the lead for good on a wild open court sequence.

Blevins stole an errant pass and raced toward the basket and a potential breakaway dunk. Instead the ball popped out of the hoop, but Rohrbach was trailing the play and was able to corral to offensive rebound and score on the putback to make it 48–46.

Platteville extended its lead to 56–48 on three free throws on six free throws and a basket by Nies. Prochaska hit a three to cut it to 56–51 with about 40 seconds left, but Nies and Rohrbach each split a pair of free throws down the stretch and Dodgeville never got off a final shot to tie it.

Nies finished with 19 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals. Blevins added 16 points and eight rebounds and Shinee finished with 15 points and a team-high 10 boards before fouling out in the final minutes.

Prochaska has 19 points and 12 boards, his ninth double–double of the season. Stanek added 11 in the loss.

“It was good to win a tough conference game against a good team at home,” said Huser. “We learned from what we did not do well at the end of the Mount Horeb game and applied those lessons to the game against Dodgeville.  We took care of the ball and made plays to win the game. Dillon Shinee and Cade Rohrbach took two charges late in the final minutes to help get the defensive stops we needed to help us win. Braden Nies had a tough shooting night because of how Dodgeville was defending him, but he came up with big shots when we really needed them and played an all-around nice floor game. We got good minutes off our bench with some plays that do not show up in a stat column so it was a really great team win.”

Platteville travels to Lancaster Friday night for another girls–boys SWC doubleheader. The Hillmen dominated the Flying Arrows (5–7, 1–4 SWC) 68–48 in the SWC opener at PHS on Dec. 2.

Platteville 58, Dodgeville 55
(from Friday, Jan. 13 @ Platteville)

Dodgeville           20    35      —  55
Platteville            24    34     —  58
Platteville (8–3, 4–0) — Donovan Blevins 16, Braden Nies 19, Cade Rohrbach 3, Alex Traxler 5, Dillon Shinee 15. Totals – 23 10-24 58.
Dodgeville (3–9, 2–3) — Josh Shepler 3, Gerrit Baker 2, Isaac Nagel 7, Nate James 7, Brantley Eastman 6, Houston Stanek 11, Bryce Prochaska 19. Totals – 20 9-13 55.
3-point goals — D: 6 (Shepler 1, Nagel 1, Eastman 2, Stanek 1, Prochaska 1); P: 2 (Nies 2). Total fouls — D: 16; P: 13. Fouled out — P: Shinee.